What is Gosoku Ryu Karate?
“Go means power, Soku means speed, Ryu is style.
This is meaning of Gosoku Ryu. Every movement fast with power, kill idea.”
-Soke Takayuki Kubota
Gosoku Ryu is a style of karate developed by Grand Master Takayuki Kubota. Literally translated, Gosoku Ryu means, "hard-and-fast style". “Go” refers to power, “Soku” refers to speed, and “Ryu” refers to the style. All styles of karate utilize speed and power, but there are certain characteristics of Gosoku Ryu that makes it faster and the movements more powerful than some of the more common conventional styles. Gosoku Ryu, originally developed by Grand Master Kubota in the 1950's, is his own incarnation, with roots in the Shotokan and Goju Ryu styles of karate. This style of fighting was uniquely suited for the smaller, quicker fighter. When a smaller fighter blocks the attack of the larger fighter, a direct force on force block cannot easily be used. The result could be an injured limb for the smaller fighter. Gosoku Ryu instead redirects force instead of meeting force with force. Gosoku Ryu takes the powerful linear movements utilizing the rooted deep stances and hip rotation of Shotokan and combines them with the fast circular “soft” movements and short stances of Goju to create a hybrid style that generates tremendous power and speed, hence the name: Gosoku Ryu. Goju Ryu karate often redirects energy instead of meeting force on force like the Shotokan style and is hence considered a "soft" style. Do not consider "soft" lacking power though. Goju utilizes shorter rooted stances and very powerful yet quick movements utilizing dynamic body tension. Gosoku Ryu is the perfect union of Shorin and Shorei (hard and soft styles) and therefore is suited to all body types, both large and strong as well as light and fast. Gosoku Ryu is the culmination of centuries of martial arts taking the best of all styles to create a hybrid martial art with great strength and speed.
Gosoku Ryu manages to fuse these two styles and in the process creates many of its own unique movements. Gosoku Ryu is characterized by fast circular hand movements and fast footwork. Offensive movements are explosive and utilize the full body power of the practitioner, creating tremendous force. The most fundamental of these movements is the unique footwork that is a characteristic trait of the Gosoku Ryu style. Much of the footwork incorporates the switching of the position of the feet and hips. This switching causes the entire body to rotate and harness the power of the ENTIRE body into the movement. This rotation therefore puts the entire mass of the body behind the punch, kick or block, greatly amplifying the power. There are also many short, explosive steps which translate to rapid hand movement and quick closing of the distance to the opponent. This quick movement translates into a devastating offensive attack that is very difficult to defend against. Short steps, combined with the switching of the feet and hip rotation make for an extremely powerful and explosive attack.
The hand movements in Gosoku Ryu are also unique. The Gosoku defense is a flowing circular movement using both hands at the same time. This allows for both hands to defend at the same time while harnessing the momentum generated by a flowing circular movement. Each movement of the Gosoku defense is designed to block several attacking movements at the same time. The flowing circular movement also retains the momentum during the defense and allows this energy to continue to flow into the subsequent counter attack making for a very quick counter with little or no lapse in time or movement between the defense and counterattack. Once the Gosoku defense opens up the attacker, often times the final blow will be delivered by changing into the classic Shotokan reverse punch which has no rival when it comes to power. Combine this reverse punch with the momentum generated by the Gosoku Ryu footwork and this powerful, traditional punch is made even stronger by harnessing the energy and momentum generated by the footwork of Gosoku Ryu.
Offensive hand techniques in Gosoku Ryu also utilize circular movement, which is a departure from the traditional Shotokan linear hand movement. At close range, circular hand movement attacks are very effective and able to breach the linear defense of many fighting styles as they go around the defensive limb of the defender. Hooking offense in combination with linear offense makes for a very difficult and powerful attack to defend against.
All techniques taught in Gosoku Ryu have been tested both on the street and in karate tournaments. If the technique is not effective, it is not used. Gosoku Ryu is a "living" art that is constantly evolving by improving technique and has the ability to adapt to changing conditions. The art is unique in that is has the ability to adapt to the strengths and weaknesses of the practitioner, as opposed to making the practitioner transform himself or herself to adapt to the art. Gosoku Ryu in each practitioner therefore becomes unique, with each person working the techniques best suited to his or her own body size, build, and strengths. Gosoku Ryu also incorporates facets from other martial art styles as well. Redirection of the opponent's force is utilized in adaptations of Aikido technique. Grappling techniques of Jujitsu and Judo are utilized if the fight goes to the ground. Many of these techniques are unique and have been developed by Soke Kubota especially for law-enforcement as well as self-defense use. Soke is also an expert in grappling and joint manipulation, which he employs extensively in his instruction of law-enforcement officers worldwide. Soke refers to this as "Gyaku Te Jitsu" which is the art of "the counter or reverse hand". This is also incorporated in the training of Gosoku Ryu.
Gosoku Ryu weapons techniques also utilize use the hard and fast movements of Gosoku Ryu. Combined with the footwork of Gosoku Ryu, the weapons system developed by Soke Kubota is VERY strong. Weapons training includes the use of the jo (short staff), tonfa (side-handle baton), tsue (walking cane), boken (wooden sword) and katana (long Samurai sword). Soke is also a Master with the PR-24 police baton (side-handle baton created for police use). Like his karate style, Soke Kubota's weapons style also utilizes the philosophy of Gosoku Ryu and teaches only practical movement applicable to combat. Again, if it does not work in combat, it is not taught.